Dr. Matthew W. Blair is a Plant Breeder and Research Associate Professor at Tennessee State University (TSU) in Nashville, Tennessee where he conducts breeding and genetics projects on legumes and dicotyledonous C4 crop plants such as cultivated amaranth. TSU is an 1890s land grant university, one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the United States, that is critical to agriculture in the southeastern USA with plant science research and farmer training/extension. The plant genetics program goals of Dr. Blair’ lab are to have a major impact on the productivity of small-holder agriculture in the USA and internationally. He collaborates with multiple African, Chinese, European and US research groups. The laboratory applies molecular biology research to cultivar and crop development, uses various agronomic and physiological testing techniques for association genetics and plant breeding as well as engaging in a participatory manner with foreign aid groups, agriculture sector decision makers and farmer groups to improve crop management in the interests of resource poor farmers. Field research is conducted at two experiment stations near TSU (Davidson and Cheatham counties) and laboratory based research emphasizes marker-assisted breeding. Biotechnology and genomics toolsare applied to legumes including hairy root transformation.
The Buckler Lab for Maize Genetics and Diversity uses functional genomic approaches to dissect complex traits in maize, biofuel grasses, and grapes. We exploit the natural diversity of these plant genomes to identify the individual nucleotides responsible for complex (quantitative) variation.
Sarah Davidson Evanega teaches courses on plant biotechnology and scientific writing and is particularly concerned about strengthening leadership development programs in developing countries where IP-CALS works. Sarah also leads IP-CALS gender working group, AWARE (Advancing Women in Agriculture through Research and Education). Her primary research focuses on the controversy around biotechnology in developing countries.
Vernon Gracen develops the curriculum for Cornell's Transnational Learning Program for the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics. This involves the development of workshops, short courses and full MSc/PHD training curricula for training plant breeders in traditional breeding methods and application of new molecular technologies to applied breeding programs.
Yong-Gu Cho works on functional genomics based on ‘gain-of-function’ and ‘loss-of-function’ with FOX-hunting system, ZFN & TALEN, antisense, and RNAi in rice, and functional analysis of genes related to starch biosynthesis and development of high quality rice varieties.
Jean-Luc Jannink's primary focus is on developing statistical methods to use DNA markers in public sector small grains breeding. To make the research relevant to small grains, it should emphasize low cost markers to the extent possible because small grains have relatively low value. To make the research relevant to the public sector, it should be applicable to many relatively little programs that seek to leverage their joint efforts into something greater.
Lee Kass focuses her efforts on publishing scientific papers and writing an intellectual biography of Barbara McClintock (Cornellian and Nobel Laureate). Her book of Perspectives on McClintock’s publications was recently issued. She is PBG designated historian, and collaborated with Professor R. P. Murphy to write a Centennial history of the department. She continues consulting and investigating the biodiversity and reproductive biology of Bahamian Plants and is a resource person for investigators on the Bahama Flora and historians working in the field of botany and genetics. She recently completed a project curating T.F. Lucy’s historical herbarium for the Buffalo Museum of Science.
Anatole Krattiger works on strategic and intellectual property aspects related to ag-biotechnology and global health at the crossroads of development, government, science, businesses, and philanthropy.
Li Li’s research projects are in a number of areas (carotenoids, flavonoids, and micronutrients) associated with crop nutritional quality improvement. Primary research focuses on carotenoid metabolism.
David Matthews curates the GrainGenes database, a resource for genetics and genomics of small grain cereals. GrainGenes focuses on genetic maps, QTLs, molecular markers, sequence and phenotypic data from wheat, barley, rye, oat and related wild species.
K. V. Ramen's experience includes working in the area of International Agriculture and Rural Development. In addition to being the course coordinator for IARD 402 and 602, he is also involved in implementing several special projects in the area of agricultural biotechnology, capacity building, curriculum development and agri-business in many developing nations.
Jessica focuses on the implementation of genomic selection to accelerate genetic gain in wheat especially for the improvement of yield, abiotic stress tolerance, and quantitative disease resistance to enhance resistance durability. Jessica spends the majority of her time working alongside CIMMYT breeders and scientists at wheat stations in Mexico in order to evaluate new genomic-assisted breeding methods in the context of the CIMMYT global wheat program so that experimental results can more easily translate into impact. Jessica teaches a new course entitled “Selection theory and methods” (PLBR 4080) which aims to prepare students to design effective and sustainable breeding programs and to implement modern selection tools.
Frank Shotkoski has 20 years of academic and industrial experience in both agriculture and medical biotechnology. He is currently the Director of the Agriculture Biotechnology Support Project II (ABSPII), a USAID/Cornell University cooperative effort with a mandate to introduce agriculture biotechnology to developing countries.
Hale Ann Tufan is Project Manager for NEXTGEN Cassava Breeding Project and leads the Gender Responsive Cassava Breeding Initiative under this project. Previously she held a postdoctoral research fellow position at the Natural Resources Institute, UK, where she used RNA-sequencing to decipher cassava defense responses to viral diseases. She has worked as an assistant wheat breeder at the CIMMYT Winter Wheat Improvement Program in Turkey, and at the School of International Development, University of East Anglia UK, studying institutional tensions around implementing molecular breeding in developing countries. She completed her PhD at the John Innes Centre UK, on wheat molecular defense responses to fungal pathogens. Her current work focuses on designing gender responsive crop breeding programs, designing baseline surveys for gendered crop trait preferences, and conceptualizing tools to codify and translate farmer knowledge for breeding programs, especially for use in upstream trait selection.
Joyce Van Eck is a faculty member at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) and is also the director of the BTI Center for Plant Biotechnology Research. The focus of research in her laboratory is biotechnological approaches to the study of gene function and crop improvement. For her studies, she applies genetic engineering strategies to food crops, such as grape, potato, and tomato, in addition to several model species (Setaria viridis, Brachypodium distachyon, and Asclepias syriaca).